A COUNCILLOR'S push to abandon negotiations on the future of Hanging Rock's East Paddock has failed to sway enough of his elected colleagues.
Geoff Neil questioned the Macedon Ranges Shire's need to sell to the state government, which wants to buy a 22.95 hectare section of land close to the iconic landmark.
"To be truthfully honest I've yet to come across a coherent answer to that question," he said.
"Councillors, please, I need four others to make this work for our community."
Cr Neil's plea came on Wednesday night as councillors considered their next move in a long-running negotiation that has largely been conducted behind closed doors.
Before the meeting, the council publicly revealed it knocked back an offer from the state government last May because it was "significantly below" the council's valuation.
Cr Neil said there were many reasons not to sell the land, including that the rock had brought in well over $1 million in revenue since the council made enhancements.
East Paddock's 22.95 hectares are zoned public recreation and open space, and has hosted concerts including by artists Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Rod Cohen and Elton John.
Cr Neil feared a sale could potentially put those sorts of events at risk.
"I know we lost the Lost Trades Fair to Bendigo because, ostensibly, we did not have anywhere big enough to hold it," Cr Neil said.
He argued that councillors should abandon discussions as a show of faith to its constituents.
"What I want to convey to our community - particularly our business community - is that you supported us all through the last year with COVID, here's our chance to give back to you," Cr Neil said.
"We keep it, we capitalise on it and we know that whatever we receive would be exceptionally beneficial to every member of our community."
But Cr Neil's push was knocked down by a majority of councillors including Janet Pearce, who argued that councillors should only make a decision once community consultation had taken place.
"If we found that 80 per cent of the feedback was 'don't sell the East Paddock' we [could] look and make considered decisions," she said.
"To me, this is the start of a process of which community consultation will give us more information to ultimately make the decision."
A majority of councillors voted to instead publicly release the council's valuation of the site as well as recommit to negotiations with the state government through its Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.